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C o n t a c t :

OEM Sales Manager
240 Industrial Park Lane
Decatur, TN 37322
FAX 423-334-3389

Copper Specifications

By Dan Kitts

The variables facing the designer of a copper fabrication are many. The impact these variables will have on the finished copper component range from significant to minimal. The purpose of the following information is to provide an awareness for the designer as to the importance of these copper specifications. However, in many cases the number of options described here are limited dramatically in application because of material availability, manufacturability, minimum raw material orders and cost. Therefore, STORM will be happy to review your specification and provide comments as to cost and availability.

Copper Bus Bar

Copper Busbar Efficiency

Busbar systems for industrial and commercial facilities are often designed to minimize first costs, with the Busbar sized to the minimum permitted by safety considerations. In such cases, operating costs are ignored at the design stage and, as a result, large amounts of electrical energy are wasted in service due to heating. Larger cross-sections of Busbar result in more efficient systems with lower operating costs. The optimum system is one that properly balances first costs with operating costs in order to minimize total life-cycle cost.

Energy is wasted in any system because a portion of the electricity flowing through the conductor is converted to heat rather than being delivered as usable electrical energy. The determinants of the rate at which heat is generated by a system are: the amperage of the system and several factors which determine the resistance: the dimensions of the Busbar, the layout of the Busbar and the conductivity of the Busbar metal.

The effect of electrical conductivity on the heat loss of the system is straightforward: there is a proportionally inverse relationship between the two. The effects of the amperage and the dimensions of the Busbar are more subtle and have to be considered together. For a given Busbar size, increasing the amperage of the system will increase the heat loss, while increasing the cross-section of the Busbar will decrease the electrical resistance, and therefore the heat loss. These two effects are nonlinear, however. Thin, wide Busbar systems have better heat-dissipation characteristics, and therefore run cooler, than Busbar systems of equal cross-sectional area, but with less surface area. Since electrical resistivity rises with temperature, the thinner, wider configurations are better conductors.

Copper Alloys

C11000, Electrolytic Tough Pitch Copper (ETP): The most common type of copper used. With a minimum copper content of 99.90%, and an electrical conductivity of 101% IACS, it is used in such diverse applications as electrical conductors, roofing and flashing, heat exchanger fins, tanks and hollowware.

C10100 and C10200, Oxygen Free Coppers: Used where the presence of oxygen in copper is undesirable, as in certain electronic parts, or metal to be welded. These coppers have higher purities than ETP and are cast by the refineries in a controlled atmosphere with oxygen excluded. Cryogenic grades of C10100 copper are also available.

C12200, Phosphorous Deoxidized Copper (DHP): Deoxidized with phosphorous, making it relatively easy to weld and high temperature braze. However, DHP has a much lower electrical conductivity - approximately 85% IACS.

C11400 and C14300 Coppers: Used where it is desired to avoid softening in copper that is soldered at relatively high temperatures, as in automotive heater and radiator fins. The addition of a small percentage of silver, as in C11400 copper, is effective without a significant change in thermal and electrical conductivities. The addition of .07% cadmium to C14300 copper has a similar result, except that the conductivities are reduced by approximately 4%.

The measure by which the electrical conductivity of all materials are compared is known as % IACS (percent International Annealed Copper Standard). A few comparative conductivity ratings follow:

Type of Metal % IACS
110 Electrolytic Tough-Pitch Copper
102 Oxygen-Free Copper
145 Tellurium Copper
Aluminum EC
Aluminum 6101
505 Phosphor Bronze 1.25%
Aluminum 5052
Stainless Steel 302

Based on the availability and cost, C11000 Electrolytic Tough Pitch (ETP) should be specified when suitable.


The hardness of the copper or copper alloys are obtained by annealing or cold finishing after the annealing process. Unlike steel and aluminum, copper and copper alloys are not strengthened by heat treating in the final stages of processing. During annealing, air is excluded by flooding the furnaces with protective atmospheres controlled to prevent scaling, staining, or the penetration of the metal by oxygen or hydrogen. Cold finishing is defined as the permanent deformation or strain produced in the metal by external forces that are applied while the metal’s temperature is below its recrystallization point. It can be achieved by rolling, bending, stretching, or hammering the metal while it is cold.

Square copper rod.

Copper Rod and Bar

Annealed Metal (Soft) - Recrystalized Grains - Produced by Annealing Hard Metal - Special Soft Tempers are used for short radius bending, cold heading and cold swaging. Cold worked surfaces are suitable for most polishing.

1/2 Hard Metal (Cold Worked) - Distorted and Broken-up Grains - Produced by Cold Drawing or Cold Rolling Soft Metal to Finish Size. Common Hard Temper Rectangular and Square Bar. Standard Bus Bar Temper. Used for parts requiring machining, large radius bends, slight cold heading and swaging.

Full Hard Temper (Cold Worked) - Much Distorted and Broken-up Grains - Produced by Cold Drawing or Cold Rolling Soft Metal to Finish Size. Common Hard Temper for Round Rods. Used for parts requiring machining. Generally not suitable for bending, cold heading and cold swaging. Hard tempers are favorable to blanking, shearing and machining.

Storm stocks round and square copper rod in standard lengths with custom cuts available to specific lengths. For special-length pricing, please link now to our live customer support chat room or call toll free 1-866-716-9773.


Copper Sheeting

Sheet, Strip and Roll Copper

Cold Rolled Annealed Temper (Soft Metal) - Recrystalized Grains - Produced by Annealing Hard Metal - Standard Soft Roll Copper is commonly used for deep drawing and spinning. The surface on drawn parts is suitable for most polishing requirements.

Soft Temper Annealed Metal (Soft Metal) - Recrystalized Grains - Produced by Annealing Hard Metal - Commonly used by sheet metal craftsmen. Used for moderate drawing and cupping. The surface on drawn parts is suitable for most polishing requirements.

1/4 Hard Metal (Cold Worked) - Distorted and Broken-up Grains - Produced by Cold Rolling Soft Metal to the Finish Thickness. Special Hard Temper suitable for shallow forming.

1/2 Hard Metal (Cold Worked) - Distorted and Broken-up Grains - Produced by Cold Rolling Soft Metal to the Finish Thickness. Special Hard Temper suitable for 90 degree bends.

3/4 Hard Metal (Cold Worked) - Much Distorted and Broken-up grains - Produced by cold Rolling Soft Metal to the Finish Thickness. Suitable for 90 deg. bends. Favorable to blanking, shearing and machining.

Because of the relationship between Temper and the manufacturability of the component, Storm Copper Components will suggest a Temper upon review of drawings.




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